I have been contacted by huge numbers of constituents who are deeply concerned about the UK Government’s decision to merge the Department for International Development with the Foreign Office. This was done without consultation with the UK’s international development and humanitarian sector and against recommendations of independent aid scrutiny bodies. The Department for International Development has repeatedly been found by independent reviews to be the most transparent and effective Government Department for spending. In contrast, the Foreign Office, with which DFID is to be merged, has been criticised for spending UK aid on projects that do not prioritise reducing poverty for the poorest people on earth. Therefore, I rise to present the petition on behalf of the residents of the constituency of North Ayrshire and Arran.
The petition states:
The Petition of the residents of the constituency of North Ayrshire and Arran,
Declares that the proposed merger of the Department for International Development with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is a retrograde step that will diminish the UK’s respect as a global leader on international development; further declares that the merger is the first clear step in a change of policy, which will inevitably see UK aid explicitly linked to trade rather than being based on need.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to immediately abandon proposals to merge the Department for International Development with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
And the petitioners remain, etc.